Roundwood timber framing course

29 October & 5, 12, 19 November 2022
8:00 – 18:00 each day
Participants: 8
Fees: £250 – £320
Tutors: Max Ducharme and Paddy Cox

This course is now fully booked

The objective of our roundwood timber framing course is to introduce participants to the basics of crafting a roundwood timber frame using traditional techniques with hand tools.

What you will learn 

  • Introduction to frame design and timber selection for an open structure, such as a community shelter or a garden feature
  • Fabrication process and sequence
  • Appreciation of how each component of the frame will impact other elements of the frame and its overall appearance.
  • Setting out and measuring up the frame
  • Cutting timber joints by hand (mortice & tenon, lap joints, etc.)
  • Testing joints of the different components of the frame
  • Procedures for erecting and testing the structure, prior to moving it to site

The components fabricated during this course will be used to complete a circular structure that will support a conical pitched roof, including fully braced principal rafters. If work proceeds well during the course we should be able to test the major components by assembling all or part of the basic frame.

The structure’s roof will be completed in a future course. The best way to find out when the course dates get published is to join our mailing list.

Who it is suitable for

The course is suitable for people with a wide range of abilities, from complete novices in timber crafting to carpenters who wish to expand their practical experience.

Participants do need to be reasonably fit, as the course entails some strenuous work such as lifting and manoeuvring timber poles as a team and using mallets to chisel out joints.

If any under-18s wish to join in the course we will need parental authorisation and a discussion about suitability of working as part of a team (in the past this has worked out very well for youngsters).

What to bring and wear

We work out in the open as well as under cover. Warm clothing is recommended as well as waterproofs, hats and work boots.

All tools and materials will be provided, but feel free to bring any favourite tools that you may already have.

For any participants who are interested in acquiring the (all new) set of tools that they will be using on the course for their personal use later on, we are pleased to offer the set at cost price – excluding the scribing tools which are shared on the course. Please do let us know as soon as possible prior to the course starting if you are interested in this offer.


Hot drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch, and a camp fire is available to warm up food if required. Previous participants have often chosen to share food between themselves.


Max Ducharme is a highly skilled timber framer with over a decade of experience. After years working as a timber framer he moved to Japan to study traditional Japanese carpentry and framing methods; before returning to the UK to hone his roundwood timber framing skills.

Paddy Cox has helped to run timber framing courses at elfwoods for many years, as well as designing and building a variety of small and large timber structures with Built by Artizans in the elfwoods timber yard.


Participants on the course may camp at elfwoods for free, but are advised to book well in advance if they wish to do so, as we have limited capacity on site and accommodate regular visitors throughout the year.

Course fees

As a charitable organisation, we wish to set course fees as low as practical. We offer this course for a minimum rate of £250 and ask those who are able to, to make an additional donation of £70 to help cover all our costs and administrative expenses.

Payments for the minimal fee should be made by bank transfer, as set out in our confirmation email after registration. Please note places will only be reserved upon receipt of the course fees. Any additional donation can be made shortly after completing the course. 


A full refund will be made if you cancel more than 2 weeks before the course commences. Any cancellation less than 2 weeks before the course commences will be reimbursed only if we can fill the place that you have vacated. We will not be able to refund any fees if you leave the course before its completion.

Register for this course

This course is now fully booked, but you can still join the waiting list below for an opportunity to join us if there are any cancellations.

We advertise courses in our mailing list ahead of any public announcement; so if you don’t want to miss out next time, we strongly recommend you join our mailing list.